Surveying Careers

The basic principles of surveying have changed little over the ages, but the tools used by surveyors have evolved tremendously.

Engineering, especially civil engineering, depends heavily on surveyors. Whenever there are roads, Railways, Reservoir, dams, retaining walls, bridges or residential areas to be built, surveyors are involved. They establish the boundaries of legal descriptions and the boundaries of various lines of political divisions. They also provide advice and data for geographical information systems (GIS), computer databases that contain data on land features and boundaries.

Surveyors must have a thorough knowledge of algebra, basic calculus, geometry, and trigonometry. They must also know the laws that deal with surveys, property, and contracts. In addition, they must be able to use delicate instruments with accuracy and precision. In the United States, surveyors and civil engineers use units of feet wherein a survey foot is broken down into 10ths and 100ths. Many deed descriptions requiring distance calls are often expressed using these units (125.25 ft).

On the subject of accuracy, surveyors are often held to a standard of one one-hundredth of a foot; about 1/8th inch. Calculation and mapping tolerances are much smaller wherein achieving near perfect closures are desired. Though tolerances such as this will vary from project to project, in the field and day to day usage beyond a 100th of a foot is often impractical. In most states of the U.S., surveying is recognized as a distinct profession apart from engineering.

Licensing requirements vary by state, however these requirements generally all have a component of education, experience and examinations. In the past, experience gained through an apprenticeship, together with passing a series of state-administered examinations, was required to attain licensure. Nowadays, most states insist upon basic qualification of a Degree in Surveying in addition to experience and examination requirements.

Typically the process for registration follows two phases. First, upon graduation, the candidate may be eligible to sit for the Fundamentals of Land Surveying exam, to be certified upon passing and meeting all other requirements as a Surveyor In Training (SIT). Upon being certified as an SIT, the candidate then needs to gain additional experience until he or she becomes eligible for the second phase, which typically consists of the Principles and Practice of Land Surveying exam along with a state-specific examination.

Registered surveyors usually denote themselves with the letters P.S. (professional surveyor), L.S. (land surveyor), or P.L.S. (professional land surveyor), or R.L.S. (registered land surveyor), R.P.L.S. (Registered Professional Land Surveyor), or P.S.M. (professional surveyor and mapper) following their names, depending upon the dictates of their particular state of registration.

In Canada Land Surveyors are registered to work in their respective province. The designation for a Land Surveyor breaks down by province but follows the rule whereby the first letter indicates the province followed by L.S. There is also a designation as a C.L.S. or Canada Lands Surveyor who has the authority to work on Canada Lands which include Indian Reserves, National Parks, the three territories and offshore lands.

In many Commonwealth countries, the term Chartered Land Surveyor is used for someone holding a professional license to conduct surveys.

Typically a licensed land surveyor is required to sign and seal all plans, the format of which is dictated by their state jurisdiction, which shows their name and registration number. In many states, when setting boundary corners land surveyors are also required to place monuments bearing their registration numbers, typically in the form of capped iron rods, concrete monuments, or nails with washers.

Building surveying

Building Surveying emerged in the 1970s as a profession in the United Kingdom by a group of technically minded General Practice Surveyors. Building Surveying is a recognized profession within Britain and Australia.

In Australia in particular, due to risk migigation/limitation factors the employment of surveyors at all levels of the construction industry is widespread. There are still many countries where it is not widely recognized as a profession.

The Services that Building Surveyors undertake are broad but include:

  • Construction design and building works
  • Project Management and monitoring
  • CDM Co-ordinator under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007
  • Property Legislation adviser
  • Insurance assessment and claims assistance
  • Defect investigation and maintenance adviser
  • Building Surveys and measured surveys
  • Handling Planning applications
  • Building Inspection to ensure compliance with building regulations
  • Undertaking pre-acquisition surveys
  • Negotiating dilapidations claims

Building Surveyors also advise on many aspects of construction including:

  • design
  • maintenance
  • repair
  • refurbishment
  • restoration

Clients of a building surveyor can be the public sector, Local Authorities, Government Departments as well as private sector organisations and work closely with architects planners, homeowners and tenants groups. Building Surveyors may also be called to act as an expert witness. It is usual for building surveyors to undertake an accredited degree qualification before undertaking structured training to become a member of a professional organisation. Professional organisations for building surveyors include CIOB, ABE, HKIS and RICS.

Quantity surveying

Quantity Surveyors play a key role in the organisation and financial management of construction projects. In essence they manage projects to ensure that they are built on time and to budget.

Their job is to manage costs effectively and to ensure that they get the best value from contractors and suppliers. This involves obtaining tenders, arranging contracts and managing costs for the client while the works are undertaken. It is also their job to negotiate with the client's representative on payments and the final settlement. Quantity Surveyors deal with other professionals within their company as well as clients out-side the organisation.

It is an extremely diverse area and can include project management, facility management, construction management and management consultancy.

All information found at Wikipedia.